“What a beautiful mind! Hidden Footprints of Unity is a substantial work from an intelligent and spiritually perceptive man. Arasa has skillfully navigated his way through a vast array of subjects: the ‘strange sensitivity to skin colour by most adult whites … the search for the Divine … the desire by some to peer into the Void … the issues of a divisive tribalism and the imperatives of an evolving new Australian national identity’. He has produced an eminently readable memoir, uplifting, provocative, and well written. He writes with a light touch on complex issues. His use of pertinent, often amusing, quotes adds a further dimension to his vision of the inter-connectedness of mankind.”
Arasa’s ideal is the Aussie family of man, evolving from the recently achieved cultural diversity. There are signs (footprints) that exist, but we must seek in order to find them. This memoir by an Asian immigrant reflects half a century of observation and analysis during an intensively interactive life in a fast-changing Australia.
Chapter 4 – ‘Which Way to the Cosmos?’
“I find the concepts in ‘Hidden Footprints of Unity’ most appealing, coming as they do from an agile mind which has managed to embrace cultures usually seen as competitive, or even enemies. This book should prove a precious contribution to mutual understanding”.
– James Murray, SSC, recently retired Religious Affairs Editor, ‘The Australian’
Chapter 5 – ‘Peering into the Void’
“As for your writing, it takes us out of our norms, our comfort zones, and reminds the reader that what we assume is objective historical reality is often mere permeable ideology, an arbitrary sense of order imposed upon the flux of life”.
– Paul Sheehan, Columnist, ‘Sydney Morning Herald’ and author.
Chapter 2 – ‘The power of pigmentation’
“The value of Chapter 2 lies in its use of personal experience of living in Australia. One is struck by the author’s sincerity and, at times, magnanimity in recounting the lack of tolerance at the hands of colleagues and acquaintances.”
– Jerzy Zubrzycki, Emeritus Professor of Sociology, ANU
Chapter 6 – ‘The end of tribalism?’
“No question is more likely to provoke a quarrel between friends than some aspect of population policy. Are there too many Australians? Are the ones we have the right kind? Raja Ratnam is doubly privileged to reflect on such matters. He was a Malayan Hindu arrival when White Australia prevailed. By the 1980s, he was a senior public servant dealing with high policy.
His comments strike me as contrary and contradictory. He can be as anachronistic in his portrayal of Aussie customs as he is penetrating in his glimpses into how all Australians have managed the personal strains of living in a new place with even newer-comers. He is at his most perplexing when retelling his professional involvement with immigration policies. No one will read through this chapter without crying out “Too right” before having to stop themselves slamming the book shut with a shout of “What rot”.
Yet his retrospect and his prognosis are conveyed in a congenial voice, one that should contribute more to the sense of communal responsibility that he champions. Meanwhile, his neo-Liberalism seems set to demolish what Australia retains of these values.”
– Humphrey McQueen, historian and author, Canberra
(I sought and obtained pre-publication endorsements for only the above chapters in this book. As with ‘The Karma of Culture,’ the persons I approached had to have an acknowledged expertise and status relevant to the contents of the chapter referred to them.
In collating the memories and knowledge which had fallen out of my memory-bank when I began writing (and that was in response to the suggestion received from the spirit of my favourite uncle during a most significant clairvoyant-led psychic experience), I began with 2 major strands of enquiry: how our ethnic communities reached out to our Creator; and how they related to other ethnic communities sharing their nation.
My underlying intent was to ‘seek to contribute towards building a bridge’ from where I came to where I was. That was the message from the spirit of my uncle. Since I had some expertise in, and personal experience about, migrant settlement, I wrote as I did – presumably under some guidance from the spirit world.
The Family of Man may now seem like pie-in-sky, but one can never know how we will behave after the Sixth Extinction.)